In addition to its role as a structural protein linking the cytoskeleton to the extracellular matrix, dystrophin also serves a scaffold for many proteins involved in cell signaling. The link between dystrophin and signaling proteins is largely the function of the syntrophins. The syntrophins are a protein family comprised of 5 members (alpha, beta 1, beta 2, gamma 1 and gamma 2) that serve as molecular adapters. Each syntrophin has multiple protein interaction domains allowing the simultaneous binding of dystrophin and a signaling protein such as an ion channel, kinase, or nitric oxide synthase. A partial list of the proteins shown to interact with syntrophin is shown [somewhere]. The dystrophin complex can bind up to four syntrophin molecules at the same time, adding to the complexity and potential for signal regulation. We are currently studying how syntrophin's protein interactions and intracellular locations are regulated.
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